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Spurs' move to Wembley has made them stronger for FA Cup and beyond

Spurs' move to Wembley has made them stronger for FA Cup and beyond
From ESPN - March 22, 2018

There has been understandable mirth among Tottenham fans at the idea that the club now has an unfair advantage in the FA Cup, with the semifinal and final being played at the stadium they have called home this season.

Few rivals were complaining about Spurs' spell in Brent at the start of the campaign. Indeed, the north Londoners spent the early weeks attempting to exorcise a "Wembley curse".

Losing against Chelsea under the arch and then labouring to draws against Burnley and Swansea, Mauricio Pochettino's side collected just two points from a possible nine in their first three home matches.

Had they been playing at White Hart Lane, their points haul would surely have been higher and Tottenham may have found themselves better placed in the table right now. It is easy for their rivals to forget that at this stage.

Chelsea benefited in particular as they were the first visitors to Wembley this season. Catching Spurs at an especially vulnerable time, they triumphed 2-1 in an important duel that still has ramifications now, with the pair lying fourth and fifth in the table.

As a result, the Blues could have fewer complaints than anyone if they had to take on the same club in the same arena in the FA Cup. But Spurs' semifinal opponents will instead be Manchester United, who have a little more justification for any grumbles.

Wembley had become something of a fortress by the time they visited Tottenham in late January and lost 2-0. Jose Mourinho and his players could reasonably feel aggrieved at the prospect of a rematch in a tie that is supposed to be played at a neutral venue.

Everyone associated with Spurs will probably continue to be amused by this subject, crying "First it was a disadvantage, now it's an advantage? Which is it?"

The answer is: both. Having initially faced adversity, Tottenham have got used to their surroundings and then excelled in them. They will indeed have an edge now they have reached the last four of the FA Cup. That seems obvious.

Yet it would be churlish to ignore the challenges the club have overcome to gain that genuine home advantage at Wembley and, whatever the noises are from outside, Tottenham can proudly reflect that the issue is a reflection of their success.

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